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City 6 Roundup: 2022-23 newcomers

07/26/2022, 3:15pm EDT
By Christy Selagy

Christy Selagy (@ChristySelagy)

As the summer rolls on and we inch closer to the college basketball season, we’ve seen plenty of City 6 coaching staffs announce additions to of the entirety of their 2022 recruiting classes. There will be tons of new names across Philly-area D-I hoops in the 2022-23 season; here’s a roundup of all the newcomers so far.

Drexel Men

Jamie Bergens spent the past two seasons at Oral Roberts. Hailing from Almere, Netherlands, the 6-foot-2 guard also played high school hoops at West Nottingham (Md.), where he was the team MVP in 2019-20. Bergens started for Netherlands at the 2019 FIBA U18 European Championships A Division, where he averaged 10 ppg, three apg and three rpg.

A product of Legion Collegiate Academy (S.C.), Shane Blakeney was his squad’s Offensive Player of the Year his senior year and MVP his junior year. The 6-5 guard scored over 1,000 points in his career and was a four-year letterwinner.

Maryland native Yame Butler spent last season at State Fair Community College in Missouri, where he averaged 10.4 ppg and 4.1 rpg. He scored 10 or more points on 15 occasions.

Cole Hargrove had a strong career at Methacton, where he set the school record for blocks in a game (nine) and in a season (90). The 6-8 forward played on three PAC championship teams and was named All-Mercury Area Player of the Year his senior year.

Kobe MaGee was a First Team All-Morning Call, First Team All-Area, and Second Team All-Pennsylvania selection in his time at Executive Education Academy in Allentown. The 6-6 wing was also a slam dunk champion.

A 6-3 guard, Justin Moore averaged 15.2 ppg, 6.1 apg and 4.4 rpg his senior year at Archbishop Wood as he helped lead the team to a berth in the PIAA 6A championship game. Moore was a First Team All-Catholic League selection and was named The Reporter/Times Herald/Montgomery Media 2021-22 Boys Basketball Player of the Year.

Garfield Turner makes the jump from JuCo to D-I after spending last season in Texas at Odessa College, where he shot 59% from the floor.

Drexel Women

As a senior at Riverside (Pa.), Kylie Lavelle averaged a double-double: 24.7 ppg and 10.0 rpg. A four-year starter, Lavelle was also a three-time All-State honoree.

Grace O'Neill dribbles a basketball

Grace O'Neill (above) is following in her cousin's footsteps playing college ball at Drexel. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)

Jennifer Martin played five years between Bradford Christian Academy and Westford Academy, the latter of which she helped to two Dual County League Championships.

A 5-9 guard, Jalyn McNeill was an Honorable Mention All-WCAC performer at Our Lady of Good Counsel (Md.), where she earned the team leadership award.

Moriah Murray was a four-time First Team All-State performer and three-time PIAA District 2 champion at Dunmore. She scored 1,595 points in her career and led the team to a 95-5 record in her four years.

Grace O'Neill was an All-State, All-Catholic League and All-Delco performer at Archbishop Carroll. Her cousin, Meghan Creighton, had a standout career at Drexel and has the second-most assists and third-most made 3-pointers in program history.

La Salle Men

Rokas Jocius joins the Explorers after two seasons with Vilniaus Perlas Energija of the Nacionalinė krepšinio lyga, the second-highest league in Lithuanian basketball. He averaged 8.3 ppg, 5.5 rpg and 1.1 bpg last season. The 6-foot-10 big man from Kaunas, Lithuania can connect from deep, making 41.7% of his 3s in two seasons. Jocius also played in seven games for the U-19 Lithuanian National Team at last year’s FIBA U19 Basketball World Cup.

Hassan and Fousseyni Drame embrace

Hassan (14) and Fousseyni (10) Drame are joining the Explorers after making history with Saint Peter's in last season's NCAA Tournament. (Photo: Mark Jordan/CoBL)

Saint Peter's turned more than a few heads as the Cinderella story of the Men’s NCAA Tournament last season. Now, two key pieces from that Elite 8 squad are suiting up for the Explorers: twin brothers Hassan and Fousseyni Drame. Both 6-7 forwards, the Drame brothers were dominant on the glass for the Peacocks; Fousseyni led the team with 6.4 rpg in 33 games, while Hassan was third with 5.3 rpg in 34 games. Fousseyni and Hassan did their part on offense, too, chipping in 7.0 ppg (fourth on the team) and 6.0 pppg (sixth), respectively. The brothers helped Mali win its first-ever U18 African Championship in 2018 before representing their country the following year at the FIBA U19 World Cup.

Phelps School product Tommy Gardler is also listed on the Explorers’ 2022-23 roster. Gardler played last season for the now-defunct USciences Devils, where he scored double digits in 11 of 23 games.

While they aren't technically new additions, Jhamir Brickus and Khalil Brantley are back on the Explorers' roster after entering the transfer portal.

La Salle Women

Charity Shears joins as a graduate student after four seasons at D-II West Virginia State University. The 5-9 guard averaged 12.9 ppg on .366/.330/.789 shooting in her four years, and was ranked second in the Mountain East Conference in free throw percentage (.816) last season.

Gabriela Falcão is a 6-4 center from Figueira da Foz, Portugal and enters her first year of college hoops with a solid résumé: A two-time U14 District of Coimbra Championship team member where she earned four All-Championship nods, a member of the the U16 national final-four team, and a member of the U18 European Challenger and the U19 District of Aveiro Championship squads.

Rounding out the Explorers’ group of newcomers are rookies Fiona Connolly, a 5-8 guard from Vermont; Emma Egan, another 5-8 guard, hailing from Kentucky; and Mia Jacobs, a 6-2 forward from Perth, Australia.

Penn Men

The Quakers officially announced their two freshman newcomers on Friday.

A product of Harvard Westlake (Calif.), Cameron Thrower signed a National Letter of Intent to play at Penn back in November. The 6-3 guard was nominated for the McDonald’s All American Game and was named to the Los Angeles Daily News All-Area team last season.

Originally from Lagos, Nigeria, Chris Ubochi is a 6-9 forward coming off a prep year at Williston Northampton. He played high school basketball at Victory Christian Academic and Mater Dei in Southern California.

Penn Women

Saniah Caldwell played high school ball at Saddle River Day School (N.J.), where she won the New Jersey state championship in 2019, earned a number of state and regional accolades, and averaged over 20 points. The 5-9 point guard comes from an athletic family, too: Her sister is a teammate at Penn and their mother are in the Tennessee Track & Field Hall of Fame and the Middle Tennessee State University Football Hall of Fame, respectively.

A 6-0 guard and team captain at Manasquan (N.J.), Georgia Heine earned her fair share of accolades on a strong team, including State All-Star, All-State Second Team, and All-Freshman team nods..

Helena Lasic, a 6-4 forward, helped her Westtown squad to its first-ever Pennsylvania Independent School (PAISAA) championship last season. The Brampton, Ontario, native received a Team Canada Futures Invitation in 2018, the same year she was named to Team Ontario U15.

A four-time All-League First Team selection, Ella Ray will bring a strong post presence to the Quakers. The California native averaged a double-double her senior year at Oak Ridge. The 6-3 center racked up 195 blocks her sophomore year, good for 15th in the nation, and was also ranked in the top 20 her freshman year, too.

Simone Sawyer is fresh off an Illinois State championship. The 5-11 guard finished her career at Stevenson as the second leading scorer with 1,651 points. Sawyer also set a school record for most points in a season (521) and steals in a game (11).

A 6-4 forward, Floor Toonders will join the Quakers after two seasons at the University of Florida, where she averaged 2.6 ppg, 3.4 rpg and 14.4 mpg in 55 games. The Wageningen, Netherlands native suited up for her country at the FIBA U20 Women's European Championship this month. Toonders played in seven games, averaging 4.9 ppg and 7.6 rpg.

Quin Berger dribbles a basketball

Quin Berger (above) heads to Hawk Hill after helping his team win the FSL and PAISAA championships. (Photo: Mark Jordan/CoBL)

St. Joe's Men

Louis Bleechmore spent the last two seasons at Harcum, where he averaged 11.5 ppg on 50.9% shoot and 4.4 rpg. A 6-6 wing from Sydney, Australia, Bleechmore helped guide the Bears to a 32-3 record and the quarterfinals of the NJCAA Division I Championship.

A 6-1 guard from local powerhouse Westtown, Quin Berger averaged around 15 ppg, four rpg and three apg his senior year for the Friends’ Schools League and PAISAA champions. The son of Moose head coach Seth Berger, the younger Berger committed to the Hawks at the end of March, but waited a few weeks to make his decision public.

A 6-9 forward, Rasheer Fleming played high school hoops for the nationally-ranked Camden squad. 

Christian Winborne was the top-ranked point guard in his home state of Maryland and the 35th-ranked PG nationally by 247 Sports. As a junior at the Gilman School, the 6-1 Winborne averaged 22.0 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 4.0 apg and 2.5 spg.

Three-star recruit Christ Essandoko announced he’d committed to the Hawks back in late April, though there’s no official announcement or roster listing from St. Joe’s. The 6-foot-11 big man came to the States less than two years ago and blossomed in his time at Winston Salem Christian School (N.C.), where he averaged 12 ppg and 5 rpg.

St. Joe's Women

A 6-0 forward, Paula Maurina spent the past two seasons at Hartford. She averaged 13.0 points, 3.9 rebounds, and 0.8 blocks last season, earning an All-Conference Second Team nod. The 6-0 forward from Riga, Latvia has represented her country on the U16, U18, and U20 National Teams. She also led TTT Riga to a Latvian Championship and TTT Riga Juniores to the Baltic Basketball League International division championship in 2020.

Coming from Herlev, Denmark, Laura Ziegler has played on her national youth team since she was 13 years old. A 6-2 forward, Ziegler played on the Danish National Team for the 2021 and 2023 Eurobasket Qualifiers, as well as the U18, U16 and U15 National Teams. She spent last season playing for IK Eos Lund in the Svenska Basketligan Dam, the highest-tier league in Sweden, and was the Youth Player of the Year for Denmark’s Kvindebasketligaen the year prior.

Temple Men

Kur Jongkuch spent four seasons at Northern Colorado, starting 107 of his 119 games. The Juba, South Sudan native averaged 8.9 ppg and 8.6 rpg last season and 10.1 ppg and 8.0 rpg his junior year; he was the Bears’ leading rebounder both seasons.

Following two seasons at UCF, Jamille Reynolds joins the Owls as a 6-10 forward. In those two years, Reynolds averaged 4.2 ppg and 2.4 rpg.

The first true freshman of the Owls’ 2022 recruiting class, Deuce Roberts joins the team after averaging 24 ppg, six rpg and five apg in his senior season at St. Michael the Archangel High (Mo.). The 6-7 guard was a two-time Missouri Basketball Coaches Association All-State selection.

Taj Thweatt is a 6-7 forward who most recently played for West Virginia in fall 2021. After playing three games with the Mountaineers, the Wildwood, N.J., native transferred to Coastal Carolina for the spring 2022 semester, though he didn’t play. In his senior year at Wildwood Catholic, Thweatt was named the Press of Atlantic City Boys Player of the Year; his junior year, he averaged a double-double and was named the Philadelphia Inquirer South Jersey Player of the Year.

Vanderbilt transfer Shane Dezonie was initially headed to St. Joe’s, but changed course and committed to Temple at the end of June, though the university hasn’t officially announced it. The former four-star recruit averaged 2.4 ppg, 1.6 rpg and 10.9 mpg in 35 games for the Commodores last season.

Temple Women

New head coach Diane Richardson has certainly been busy since taking the reins for the Owls in April, pulling in seven transfers—including three from Towson, where she was the head coach for the last five seasons.

The Towson group comprises Tarriyonna Gary, Aleah Nelson and Rayne Tucker. Gary started 29 games last season and led the team in 3-point shooting percentage (49-of-135, .363). She averaged 8.2 ppg, good for fifth-best on the team.

A 5-6 guard, Nelson started all 32 games for the Tigers last season, leading the team in scoring (16.6 ppg), minutes (35.8 mpg) and assists (170). Nelson also flirted with a triple-double last season when she scored a career-high 39 points and put up eight rebounds and eight assists.

Tucker played under Richardson for one season after transferring from James Madison. In 27 games, the 6-1 forward averaged 6.2 ppg and 5.4 rpg and chipped in 28 blocks.

Kendall Currence brings her scoring prowess to Temple after four seasons at Northeastern, where she became the 23rd player in program history to score 1,000 points. The 5-9 guard was the leading scorer (15.9 ppg) for the Huskies last season en route to being named All-CAA first team. Currence also won the 2022 USBWA Pat Summitt Most Courageous Award.

A Philly native who played high school ball at Winslow Township (N.J.), Brittany Garner joins the Owls after spending two seasons at Missouri and two seasons at Prairie View A&M. Last year, the 6-4 forward averaged 9.1 ppg and 4.6 rpg.

A 6-0 forward, Ines Piper is making the jump from the NJCAA to D-I hoops. In one season at Northwest Florida State, the Paris, France native averaged 7.0 ppg, 3.5 rpg and 18.4 mpg in 26 games and shot 57.1% from the floor, ranked 16th in the NJCAA. Prior to college, Piper was part of the French U16 National Team during the 2018 European Championships.

After three seasons at UMass-Lowell, including starting and playing in all 45 games over the last two seasons, Denise Solis rounds out Richardson’s group of transfers. The 6-1 forward led the River Hawks in scoring (11.7 ppg) and rebounding (6.0rpg) her sophomore year.

Kourtney Wilson, a 5-10 guard, is the sole freshman on the team.

Villanova Men

The Wildcats announced two four-star recruits and one five-star recruit as members of the class of 2026 back in November and have retained all three, despite the coaching change. Mark Armstrong, a 6-2 guard out of St. Peter’s Prep (N.J), averaged 14.1 ppg and reached the 1,000-point plateau in his COVID-shortened junior season.

Texan Brendan Hausen is a 6-4 guard who averaged 17.6 ppg his junior year at Amarillo High School, where he is the all-time leading scorer.

A five-star recruit and 6-6 forward, Cam Whitmore was named the Baltimore Catholic League Player of the Year after averaging 22.0 ppg and 11.7 rpg during his junior year at Archbishop Spalding (Md.).

Villanova Women

The 2020-21 Big 10 Sixth Player of the year, Maddie Burke returns to the Philly area after two seasons at Penn State. In her time at Central Bucks West, the 6-0 guard was a four-time All-State honoree and First Team All-League performer. Burke was also invited to the 2018 USA Women's U17 World Cup Team Trials and was a finalist for the USA Basketball Women's U16 National Team the year before.

Maggie Grant is a 6-0 guard who played high school hoops at Carroll. The niece of head coach Denise Dillon, Grant was named Second Team All-Catholic League last season and was a three-time Second Team All-Delco selection.

Annie Welde shoots a basketball

Annie Welde (above) joins the Wildcats after helping O'Hara to the state title last season. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)

A 5-10 guard, Abigail Jegede twice played for her provincial team (Team Ontario) and helped lead them to a silver medal finish at nationals. The Toronto native has been a member of Canada Basketball Women's National Team Development program since 2018, and averaged 14.4ppg, 5.2 rpg., 3.1 spg. and 2.1 apg her junior year at King's Christian Collegiate.

Megan Olbrys joins the Wildcats after being named the Massachusetts Basketball Coaches Association Player of the Year last season. The 6-1 forward finished her high school career at Norwood (Mass.) as a 1,000 point scorer.

Annie Welde is fresh off a PIAA 5A state championship with Cardinal O’Hara, the second state championship team she’s been a part of. The 6-0 forward garnered Second Team All-Catholic League, Second Team All-Delco and Third Team All-State nods last season.

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